KUWAIT, March 9 (KUNA) -- The Kuwaiti cabinet, in its weekly meeting on Monday, has taken a series of measures to limit public gatherings to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The cabinet, which held its meeting at Al-Saif Palace under the chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, extended closures of all educational institutions in the country for additional two weeks, ending March 26, ordered shutting down of cinemas, theaters and wedding halls, as well as suspension of all sports events until further notice.
In a statement following the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh pointed out that the cabinet listened to a briefing from Minister of Health Sheikh Dr. Basel Humoud Al-Sabah, who leads the interagency taskforce on COVID-19, on the latest figures of global outbreak of the epidemic and the related reports on its impact worldwide as well as Kuwait's efforts to control the spread of the virus and offer treatment to the infected people.
He added that the cabinet has reviewed the recommendations presented by the ministerial committee spearheading the state efforts to counter the new coronavirus and decided the following:
1) Extending closure of all schools, universities: government and private colleges and military colleges as well as the educational centers of the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs for an additional two weeks and assigning the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education to prepare plans for dealing with future scenarios and repercussions of the current suspension and to come up alternatives to traditional educational process, tests and procedures.
2) Instructing concerned authorities to close all cinemas and theaters, as well as public and private wedding halls and ban setting up makeshift wedding reception tents until further notice.
3) Calling on sports federations to halt sports activities and friendly matches until further notice.
4) Assigning the Ministry of Interior, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health, to stop issuing all types of entry visas and confine visa issuing to the Kuwaiti diplomatic missions abroad.
5) Assigning the Ministry of Finance to allow the Ministry of Health to use the Kuwait International Fairground as a medical examination center.
6) Assigning the Kuwait Municipality in coordination with the Ministry of Health to consider setting rules to funeral ceremonies to be in line with the health guidelines to control spread of infection.
7) Obliging all government agencies to make sure that Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti employees, placed in quarantine or ordered to stay at home, will not be allowed to go to work before the end of their quarantine period.
8) Issuing the necessary guidelines from the Ministry of Health to regulate the entry of returnees from different countries according to the following categories:
- Returnees who will be subject to compulsory quarantine for a period of 14 days.
- Returnees who will be placed in home quarantine for 14 days and will be ordered to implement instructions of the health ministry and call the hotline 24970967 in case of observing any of coronavirus symptoms.
- Returnees who will be under health observation which includes providing them with instructions and guidelines and advise them to isolate themselves for a period of 14 days except in cases of necessity, avoid gatherings and call the hotline 24970967 if they observed any of coronavirus symptoms.
The cabinet has also assigned the Ministry of Finance to prepare a draft law to allocate additional financial appropriations to cover the costs of the efforts to counter coronavirus.
It also asked the Fatwa and Legislation Department to coordinate with the Ministry of Health to prepare a draft law amending some provisions of Law No. 8 of 1969 to tighten the penalties stipulated by the aforementioned law.
The cabinet has called on all citizens and residents to take all precautions and strictly adhere to the health instructions and guidelines that are constantly announced in all official media outlets in order to preserve their health and safety.
It urged all ministries and relevant authorities to continue to take all precautionary and preventive measures in line with the relevant cabinet decisions.
The cabinet emphasized that the government sticks to transparency in everything related to new coronavirus outbreak.
It therefore urged everyone to not to pay attention to rumors and to seek information from the state official sources.
The cabinet also reviewed a letter from the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, Dr. Muhammad Al-Hashel to His Highness the Prime Minister.
The letter focused on an initiative from the CBK to establish a fund worth KD 10 million to which all Kuwaiti banks contribute to support the state efforts to combat the new coronavirus.
The cabinet expressed appreciation to the banks for this generous initiative, praising their national sentiments and positive responsibility towards Kuwait.
Then the cabinet discussed political affairs in the light of reports related to latest regional and international developments.
In this regard, the cabinet condemned the terrorist attack that took place near the American embassy in Tunisia, which resulted in a number of casualties among Tunisian security men.
The cabinet also condemned the terrorist attack on a celebration in the city of Kabul in Afghanistan, which resulted in the death and injury of a large number of people, stressing the consistent position of the State of Kuwait in rejecting all acts of violence and terrorism, whatever their motives and objectives.
Then the cabinet expressed great sorrow for the death of former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, recalling his positive role, principled stances and good efforts in supporting world peace and security.
It congratulated President Umaro Sissoco Embalo on the occasion of his swearing in as President of the friendly Republic of Guinea-Bissau, wishing him success and more development and prosperity to the friendly Guinean people. (end)